Establishment of Ranches and Farms

In 1879 Charles Black built a house on Spring Creek and moved his family there the next spring. In the same year Joseph Loving and family built a house on the ranch still known to old-timers as the “Yank Robinson” Ranch. In the same year Isaac W. Garrett located on Spring creek and filed on land that afterward be longed to John Hailey. Mr. Garrett moved his family there on July 4, 1880. He was elected to the legislature in 1880 and it was due to his efforts that a bill was enacted into law giving the citizens of Alturas county the right to vote at a special election held on September 12, 1881, to locate the permanent county seat of said county. In January 1883, he accepted the office of deputy auditor and recorder at Hailey.

Other settlers near the Charles M. Black Ranch were S. E. Stanton and his son, Clark T. Stanton. Stanton Crossing was named for the former. Both of these men afterward moved to Hailey and lived there for many years. Other early settlers on Spring Creek were the Brown brothers, John W. and Michael, who settled there in 1881.

Their brothers, Joseph and Peter, came later. In the spring of 1881, Mrs. Lafe Griffin established a stage station near the base of Timmerman Hill and conducted it until her death in the fall of that year. John Redding kept a store close to this station in 1831 and until he moved to Bellevue in 1882, where he kept store while he lived. This station was on the stage line running from Hailey to Goose creek in Cassia County, where it intersected the Overland stage line running from Kelton, Utah, to Boise, Idaho. The stage line running from Hailey to Boise intersected the branch of the Overland stage line at the station at the base of Timmerman hill. John L. Timmerman came to Wood River in July, 1880, and lived near the Black ranch the first year. In the fall of 1881 he established his residence on the northern slope of the hill which bears his name, took up land there and continued to live there until the day of his death on November 23, 1906.

The old Emigrant Road that crossed Snake River at Eagle Rock (Idaho Falls) and came by way of Lost River and over Bradley Hill, north of Carey, crossed Wood River about six miles south of Bellevue.

In 1881 a stage line was established between Blackfoot and Hailey which came over Bradley Hill. Clark T. Stanton, the present probate judge of Jerome County, Idaho, was a scout with Colonel Green during the Bannack Indian War in 1878, when the Bannack of Fort Hall, led by Chief Buffalo Horn, and the Pahute of Malheur, led by Chief Egan, went on the warpath because the national government opened to settlement Camas Prairie, which had been reserved to the Indians. Colonel Green crossed Wood River where the old Emigrant crossing was, went east to Lost River near where the town of Mackay is now, and on to Challis, thence northeast to the old Lemhi Indian agency. General Miles took up the trail there and Mr. Stanton returned by way of the Salmon River, Cape Horn, Redfish Lakes, and down by Atlanta.

While writing of pioneers it may not be amiss to state that in 1824, the Snake River expedition of 140 persons, led by Alexander Ross, trapped the Lemhi and Salmon Rivers southward, thence to Lost and Wood Rivers. But a trapper is not a pioneer. His aim is to leave the country as he found it, except for the establishing of fur trading posts. He makes no other improvements. He is opposed to any improvements as that is inimical to his chosen calling. Webster defines the word pioneer as, “One who goes before, as into the wilderness, preparing the way for others to follow; as, pioneers of civilization.” The word trapper he defines as, “One who traps; esp., one who makes a business of trapping animals for their furs.”

In the summer of 1879 Archie Billingsley drove cattle into Carey Valley, and moved his family there the following year. He was the first settler there. James Carey was the first postmaster and the town derives its name from him. The Post Office and the first schoolhouse in the valley were situated on his ranch. Other settlers soon followed. The soil of the valley is very productive, a part of which is watered by Little Wood River. The town of Carey has a grade school and an accredited high school, a fine L. D. S. church, stores, garages, etc. It is situated about eight miles in an easterly direction from Picabo.

In May, 1880, Patrick McMonigle and Joseph A. Meadows settled on Deer Creek and took up land. They were the first settlers there. On October 4, 1880, L. C. Dorsey and wife settled on Rock Creek on the ranch now owned by Rodney R. Brown. But the snow was so deep that winter that they did not wait for it to leave but moved into Hailey and bought a lot. The townsite of Hailey was being laid out at that time in 1881. Mr. Dorsey lived here until his death in 1916. Mrs. Dorsey still lives here and conducts a store.

Commodore Perry Croy was one of the earliest settlers near Hailey. He filed on the land on which the Hailey Hot Springs are situated. He and Geo. W. Edgington located the Jay Gould Mine at Bullion and filed the notice for record June 4, 1880. Croy’s Addition to Hailey, Croy Street and Croy Gulch are named for him. Yet notwithstanding all his activities, he was dissatisfied with the country and left for the east in two or three years. William Quigley, after whom Quigley Gulch is named, was one of the early settlers in this vicinity. He filed on the land east of town long known as the Drake Ranch, now owned by Mrs. Joseph Hunter. A part of the Hailey Cemetery is situated on this land.

George H. Knight, present county commissioner of the Third District, arrived in Bellevue in 1880 and moved to Hailey in 1881. In those by-gone days he was a freighter. In the early eighties, he filed on 160 acres of land on Indian Creek and was granted a patent for the same. Since disposing of this land, he has lived on a ranch he owns on East Fork.

Herman Vorberg came to Wood River in 1880 and brought his family here in April, 1881. He filed on the land about a mile west of Hailey, which is known as the Vorberg Ranch, and received a patent to it. The house that he built in 1881 is in a good state of preservation and is occupied by two of his children, Herman J. and Agnes T., who cultivate the land. Mr. Vorberg built a brewery on this land and conducted it for some years. He lived on this land until his death on February 16, 1907.

To these hardy pioneers of mountains and valleys, the present citizenry of Blaine County owes a debt of gratitude. They came, they saw, they conquered. It requires but little imagination to see them with our mind’s eye pitching their tents on the sagebrush plains, building houses, fences, bridges, clearing off the sagebrush, digging ditches to convey water on the arid soil, and thus transforming the fields which had lately been sagebrush, under the magic influence of water, into fruitful fields. They, as well as the early merchants, had many hardships to undergo. Many luxuries were denied them. Yet there was a certain glamour associated with pioneer life. It has been said that “God made the country and man made the town.” Without either subscribing to that statement or taking exception to it, it is a well-known fact that without developed mines or country there would be no towns here, nor need of towns. But with a productive agricultural, stock raising country, coupled with mining, towns are indispensable.

In the early days, all goods, wares, merchandise, machinery, etc. for Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum were hauled in freight wagons drawn by either horses or mules from either Blackfoot, Idaho, which was about 135 miles from Hailey by coming over the Bradley Hill, or from Kelton, Utah, which was about 150 miles away. All ores were hauled to Kelton. The mail came by stage from Blackfoot.

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